Island health: Hospital cuts made with care
July 3, 2008 · Updated 9:37 PM
In all good conscience I cannot sit by and not address the inaccuracies presented in letters to the editor regarding financial challenges facing Whidbey General Hospital.
I commend the administrative team for their compassionate approach in this very difficult time. Many organizations have opted to institute mandatory layoffs without exploring voluntary plans. To achieve reduction through attrition and a voluntary incentive/early retirement plan is a far more compassionate approach. While the 45-day time period with an additional 7-day period to revoke seems ridiculous and unnerving to some, this is the hospitals legal requirement to comply with the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990. This explanation has been communicated in many of the employee forums as the administrative team is also maintaining frequent communication with the employees.
It has also been explained that there is a process to review those who have submitted their voluntary incentive/early retirement forms. This process is essential to ensure the continued success of the hospital. As was explained in the employee forums, it is the intent of the administration to honor the requests, but if an entire department would be left empty, business necessity would dictate that not all requests could be honored. Certainly I understand the deep emotion during this challenging time, but it is also helpful to know and communicate the facts.